One Rendering Challenge 2020: Competition Winners Announced!

The winning renderings tell architectural stories in highly intriguing and unexpected ways.

Paul Keskeys Paul Keskeys

Architizer is thrilled to announce the winners of the inaugural One Rendering Challenge! Reviewing a stellar shortlist of 100 architectural renderings and their stories, our esteemed jury have selected 2 top winners — one non-student and one student entry — along with 10 fantastic runners-up. In partnership with Fiverr’s new architecture and building design services, we’re delighted to present each top winner with a grand prize of $2,500, along with pro rendering software from the likes of Chaos Group, Adobe Substance, Evermotion and Quixel.

The top winner in the Non-Student category was “Zoom to the Future” by Carlotta Cominetti, Tamás Fischer and Camelia Ezzaouini of visualization studio Virginlemon. Their rendering tells the story of an elderly man resting his weary feet in the courtyard of his residence … with a futuristic twist. Mengyi Fan, One Rendering Challenge juror and Director of Visualization at SHoP Architects, had this to say about the image: “Sometimes it’s satisfying to see artists use the incredible arsenal of tools we have today to create scenarios beyond those that replicate reality. The artist of ‘Zoom to the future’ has used them creatively to literally and metaphorically create a thrill ride without sacrificing craftsmanship and interesting composition.”

The top winner in the Student category was “Lifting Longyearbyen” by Brandon Bergem, a 2019 MArch graduate at the University of Toronto. Bergem’s image was inspired by the dramatic, barren landscape of Svalbard, Norway. Mengyi Fan loved the composition, describing it as “a complex construction built of layers on layers, tied together seamlessly with skillful control of color and lighting. I love the muted color story presented here — the subtle bit of muddiness reinforces the artificial nature of the carefully crafted environment.” Visualization expert and juror Peter Guthrie commented: “This is not the sort of image I would typically be drawn to, but on repeated viewing, it keeps giving more and more. I love all the details and obvious effort that has gone into it.”

Without further ado, take in the winners of the 2020 One Rendering Challenge, including both the renderings and their accompanying stories…

Non-Student Winner: “Zoom to the Future” by Carlotta Cominetti, Tamás Fischer and Camelia Ezzaouini (Virginlemon)

zoom to the future one rendering challenge

This rendering is mostly about the future: A future project, a future vision, a future situation. There’s always something that persists, protecting our life’s routine. Imagine waiting for your dear to come back home after work; it’s late and cold, your courtyard (in need of a refresh for years) is dark, and you have to keep a safe distance from the trash. Neighbors are chatting behind enlightened windows. You’ve been living in this building for almost 14 years. You know by heart every crack, every leak, every pot containing every dead plant. You have seen dozens of families moving out and moving in. The world outside is speeding up.

The elevator is out of service, again; you have to take the stairs and that’s f***ing annoying!

Please take your time to zoom in! #full3D #zerophotoshop

Student Winner: “Lifting Longyearbyen” by Brandon Bergem (University of Toronto)

This is a scene from the incomplete Museum of Natural History to Ultima Thule. An official from the governor’s office exclaimed: “The ground is melting!” She cautioned the town folk that “We can no longer trust the permafrost.” The governor needed to devise a strategy simultaneously mitigating the unrelenting bombardments by natural forces while maintaining the town’s natural heritage.

Her innovative solution was to remove and lift the houses from their foundations and insert them into a mega-structure, tall enough to hover above the impending flood. The townsfolk were relieved to see that their cheerfully painted homes were unharmed. A collective pride inspired the community to rename their town from Longyearbyen to Askeladden, a name derived from Ashlad, a small child from Norwegian folklore who succeeds when all others failed.

Commended Entry: “Joey Loves Monday” by Adonis Gabriel Gumba (Binyan Studios)

joey loves monday one rendering challenge

A big house with an open plan. A swimming pool on all sides. Magnificent views all day long. A hot sun and breezy nights. Seafood all the time. Joey lives here … He’s in fifth grade, loves to draw and is good at math. He’s very good in class. He never misses school; in fact, he’d be in school even on weekends if it was allowed. He promise himself he’ll go to college and finish study. He wants to be an astronaut. He’s certain he will be.

Must be realistic. Create the non-existent. Emphasize the beauty. Highlight the potential. Visualize a dream. Make it feel real…

This is my attempt to render something more than realistic. Inspired and referenced from ” stilt houses” in Philippines, Myanmar, China and Bangkok.

Commended Entry: “The Vent” by Dennis Allain (Dennis Allain ADI)

the vent one rendering challenge

The Vent is an architectural exploration based on a world overcome by structure. From a design perspective, I had been interested in this idea of construction and how it can overcome that which was once thought valuable and beautiful. The object of past idealism is portrayed in the white structure placed in middle ground.

In setting up the composition, it was important to use the bridge to extend the viewer into the image. The water and refuse in the foreground was also an attempt to add depth. The background also played a role in creating depth and defining silhouette of the city. As an artist, I am constantly trying to perfect a color pallet and examine how form, color, value and texture work in concert to tell a story that resonates with the viewer.

Commended Entry: “Electric Rain” by Vittorio Bonapace (Vittorio Bonapace Studio)

electric rain one rendering challenge

A moment, suspended in time. Feel the vibe in the rain. Get inspired by city night reflections. Moody, cinematic and a little futuristic, this image aims to express one’s lonely feelings on a cold rainy night, and the desire for a warm, safe place where one can find energy again, after walking in solitude. The rendering represents the continuous relationship between what a city gives you and what a city takes from you.

Commended Entry: “The First Day of Spring” by Maciej Józefiak and Rafał Stachowicz (AESDE)

the first day of spring one rendering challenge

This image is a reflection on architectural visualizations in general. Architectural visualization aims to present architectural visions in an attractive, interesting and complete way. Its task is to show how the architectural design will become a finished, existing building. The attractiveness of visualizations, with a superficial approach to the subject, is usually limited to showing the object within fake and unreal scenery. However, is bending reality necessary to create a successful frame? Does a good visualization have to mean a caricatured image full of happy people?

The reality that surrounds us is completely different. This does not mean, however, that it is less interesting. On the contrary, the world around us is full of inspiration to create an image which, in addition to the banal external appearance, presents the world in an intriguing and truthful way.

Commended Entry: “Urban Farm Temple” by Duy Phan (Monash University)

urban farm temple one rendering challenge

Melbourne will be home to 8.5 million people by 2050. Infrastructure does not keep up with the population, leading to the construction area of residential areas. More and more people have to expand their homes into farming areas, while the demand for food constantly increases to meet the daily consumption needs of the population. The picture of the food supply becomes even darker when the bushfires kill millions of animals and plants and cause severe air pollution.

In the near future, food will become a new religion, where hungry megacities devour dozens of tons of vegetables and meat every day, continually running out of supplies. In the heart of the city — the deepest place in the desert of concrete created by ourselves to be isolated from nature — the Temple of Urban Food offers a picture of the future tense, where the green of vegetables brings belief in urban people’s survival.

Commended Entry: “Deadline” by Erik Peter (Pixelateit)

deadline one rendering challenge

We’ve all been there. It is the last day of the last week before holidays — the busiest time of all. You can not wait to go home. But there is still so much work to get done before that happens … So let’s just do it! While we are working hard and having fun, there is no time to notice how cold it is outside, how steam and smoke from traffic and chimneys is rising above the rooftops, and how the snowflakes are flying about. There will be enough time for all that, on our way home … Once we meet the deadline.

The building’s façade is inspired by the Greifswalder Office Building designed by Tchoban Voss Architekten in Berlin, Germany. The rooftops are akin to typical Berlin scenery, to be true to the original location of the building.

Commended Entry: “Time Traveling” by Tigran Hakobyan (theRENDER)

time traveling one rendering challenge

It’s an interesting and challenging thing: To tell a story with one still image. During thoughts about it, I saw ”Antwerp Port House” designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which has amazing contrast of an old building and a new futuristic shape. It perfectly demonstrates the connection between centuries. That’s why I chose to show time traveling.

Like the movie ”The Time Machine (2002)” in which the main hero time traveled using a Machine that stays static in its location, the rendering shows how the atmosphere and the surroundings are changed by going back in time, while the main building stays the same.

Commended Entry: “Dog, Bird and Man” by Toni Schade (sonaar)

Dog bird and man one rendering challenge

There is no rational concept for this image, but a strong reference with a strong feeling: The movie Nostalghia (1983) by director Andrej Tarkowskij and its magical final scene — A Russian farm house, a man and a dog and a camera that is slowly moving backwards to reveal that this very scene is embedded in the ruin of a seemingly enormous Italian cathedral. It is an image about home and outland, one so strong and so emotional that it stuck in my mind ever since I watched the movie for the first time about 15 years ago.

Commended Entry: “Orchard Jenga – Start of the Night Shift” by Duy Phan (Monash University)

orchard jenga

To cope with urban heat island effect and lacking trees canopy coverage in cities cramped context, on top of the existing two-level car park, Orchard Jenga proposes to plant not only trees but eatable vegetations vertically, casting healthy shadow for open public space underneath. The facility produces organic fresh foods for the nearby Queen Victoria Market by applying the technology from the adjacent University of Melbourne research centre.

Covered by the transparent water tank, the unique façade allows semi visual connection from in and out by caustically reflecting and refracting the light when it passes through. The image is captured at the moment of a night shift begins to start. As those last sun rays pour on the side façade, the aquaponic lights illuminate from the inside. It is not intentionally blending itself with the context but is proudly vivid, stating the message of the city’s sustainable future.

Commended Entry: “Architecture Survives the Idea” by Yuliya Arzhantseva (A+I)

architecture survives the idea one rendering challenge

Architecture is function combined with esthetic. And when architects create something, they make an assumption of how people are going to interact with their brainchild. This bus stop is an example of how architecture storytelling changes with time. Made in the soviet time bus stops like this one also had an ideological function – to tell a story of the country people were living in. But architecture lives longer than ideas.

With time the USSR’s brutalist oasis in the middle of nowhere became a shabby reminder of the past. Instead of a buzzy crowd of local workers, there is a cow grazing on grass. And the modern man is standing, detached, near the stop. He doesn’t want to interact with the idea of what this bus stop embodies. It’s now better for the cow – they don’t care. Because ideas pass by, but architecture stays.

As our two top winners, the Virginlemon team and Brandon Bergem will each receive:

Further to this, the 10 commended entries shown above will receive a prize package of professional rendering software worth over $700. Revealed last week, the top 100 renderings will feature in the first “One Rendering Challenge eBook, to be distributed to thousands of architecture firms via newsletter and social media channels. Watch out for this stunning publication, coming soon! There will also be further features on the winners in the coming weeks.

Thank you to all participants for their hard work in creating these amazing renderings and telling fascinating stories about architecture. If you are interested in entering next year’s One Rendering Challenge, be sure to sign up for updates by clicking the blue button below.

In the meantime, keep on rendering!

Register for the next One Rendering Challenge

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Paul Keskeys Author: Paul Keskeys
Paul Keskeys is Editor in Chief at Architizer. An architect-trained editor, writer and content creator, Paul graduated from UCL and the University of Edinburgh, gaining an MArch in Architectural Design with distinction. Paul has spoken about the art of architecture and storytelling at many national industry events, including AIANY, NeoCon, KBIS, the Future NOW Symposium, the Young Architect Conference and NYCxDesign. As well as hundreds of editorial publications on Architizer, Paul has also had features published in Architectural Digest, PIN—UP Magazine, Archinect, Aesthetica Magazine and PUBLIC Journal.
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